Thursday, 12 July 2012

OTTBS Colour Challenge WIP

I finally got started on my Operation Tackle That Bead Stash monthly colour challenge piece last night. The theme this month is ice cream, so my entry has to be made in shades of cream, pink and brown. For an extra entry in the prize draw, it also has to incorporate flowers in it somewhere as well.

When I first saw the theme for this month, my initial reaction was - "I don't think I have any brown beads!" Well, I took a little time to rummage through all my bead boxes and lo and behold, I did have some brown beads (not a lot, but more than I thought!) as well as some cream and pink too. 

With the selection of beads and my disposal all collected together I decided I wanted to make something multi-stranded, and that I fancied using copper findings as opposed to my usual silver. Whether this piece will end up as a bracelet or necklace I'm not 100% sure, but here is what I had as of last night.

As you can see, I've got the required colours, plus some shell and polymer clay flower beads to cover the extra element of the challenge. I think I will get some more time on this piece this evening so I will see how it evolves - I am thinking of adding a beadwoven rope strand but I'm not sure which stitch I want to use.

I'll be sure to post a picture of the finished jewellery when I'm done. 


Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Evolution of the 'Halo'

In the relatively short time that I've been selling my beadwork jewellery, there is one design that has sold many times over; my 'Halo' necklaces. They've been through several evolutions and their basic design has been adapted, embellished and combined with other motifs to create a collection of work that shows the versatility of a peyote stitch beaded ring.

I learnt how to bead a peyote ring at a workshop using size 15 seed beads and size 11 cylinder beads, however, I wasn't overly keen on the 'flat' effect of the seed beads, so was tempted to try using normal size 11 round beads instead. I like the effect that using round seed beads has on the texture and shape of the ring, so I've carried on that way ever since.

The very first 'Halo' necklaces I created were a simple beaded ring, embellished around the outer edge with crystals, firepolished beads and even some small semi-precious stones, hung on a lightweight chain like the turquoise version below.

I still have the first 'Halo' like this that I made - mine is silver-grey with glass pearls and bicone crystals around the outside. I like the simplicity of the design in this way - whilst I love big, intricate beadwork designs, I think many people would feel they were 'difficult to wear on a day-to-day basis' and part of my aim for the jewellery I sell online is to make beadwork that is 'wearable' and could be worn to the office or out to the shops, rather than being 'saved for best.'

The next evolutionary step for the 'Halo' necklaces was that they gained a wire-wrapped chain tassel. I was given some fine chain that had come from a big lot of chain that the jewellery school I teach for freelance had been sent and was just too tiny to be used for the beginner's classes we teach. Searching for a way of using the chain, I decided to try adding a little to the bottom of a 'Halo' to add some extra movement and sparkle. The original chain I was given was silver-plated, but I liked the effect so ended up buying antique gold and gunmetal coloured chain and findings in order to provide a range of metal colours - not everyone is a 'silver-only' person like me!

I've tried numerous other things with the 'Halos' - I've joined them together in triplicate....

...used them with other motifs, as in my 'Aquila' necklaces....

...and even linked several together to create a bracelet...

I am sure I'll not stop using the 'Halo' motif in my beadwork for a while yet! I've listed several new variations recently, which incorporate new colours and a little bit of wirewok too. I am really proud of the latest few 'evolutions' of the Halo. If you click on the link you'll be taken to the shop listing for each necklace - as always, I am happy to take on custom orders and bead something in the style of what you see here (or indeed anywhere in my online shops) in your favourite colour palette. Each of these new necklaces has something special about them - I'll be sad to see them go when they find a new home.

'Amethystine' - this necklace features matching seed beads and Czech firepolished crystals which are amethyst with a delicious golden lustre and is hung on an antique bronze tone chain to compliment the gold-dust effect of the beads and the dark 'dorado' metallic gold Swarovski crystals.

'Moondust' - is another 'triple Halo' necklace which uses some unusual seed beads in the main ring - they are light sapphire blue lined with bronze, but they appear grey-ish with a blue 'flash' which is very reminiscent of the semi-precious stone labradorite. Embellished with grey lustered Czech crystals and 'white opal' Swarovski bicones.

'Woodland' - I think this one is my favourite of the new pieces (I'm allowed a favourite, right?). This necklace features a 'Halo' pendant embellished with two layers of tiny beaded leaves, as well as a row of 'olivine' and 'dorado' gold Swarovski crystals. It is hung on an antique gold chain which has had wire-wrapped crystals added to it, with a chain tassle at the bottom for extra sparkle and movement. I am sure I will be re-visiting this style of 'Halo' in a few more colours.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about how my 'Halo' pieces have changed and continue to grow - I pulled together a bunch of photos of the different varieties and colours I've created and formed them into this collage. I hope all those who have a 'Halo' love to wear it as much as I enjoy wearing mine, and making new ones!